Last start Gr.3 Easter Handicap (1600m) winner Carolina Reaper will do her future racing in the Middle East.
The four-year-old mare will join Dubai-bound Australian trainer Michael Costa, who is soon to become the private trainer for Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Jebel Ali racecourse.
Gold Coast-based Costa, who bowed out a winner when his final Australian runner The Catch saluted at Doomben on Wednesday, will relocate to Dubai later this month with his wife Melanie and three children.
A trainer who has made a big impression since relocating from Sydney to the Gold Coast in 2016, Costa was delighted to secure the Kiwi mare for Sheikh Ahmed, whose yellow silks and black epaulettes are best recognised in Australasia through the deeds of Group One winner Addeybb.
“Looking at Carolina Reaper’s form, she has been patiently handled and this preparation she looks like she has grown another leg,” Costa said.
“The wins this prep have been good, and particularly her Group Three win, she wasn’t entitled to win from where she was in the field.
“Her run home times were extremely strong and she even got half-flattened at the top of the straight. It was an extremely good win.”
Costa said the daughter of Vespa, who has won four of her 14 starts for trainers Graham Richardson and Rogan Norvall, profiled ideally for the fillies and mares series in Dubai on turf in January and February.
“Just looking at it, I don’t believe the depth of those races is overly strong so we will try and aim her for them and then see if she can match it with the boys and be a carnival horse,” he said.
“There are a number of options for her, but the first option will be targeting the fillies and mares race series.”
Costa will inherit some existing horses, as well as being involved in the addition of new stock, with horses sourced from around the globe.
“There are currently 53 horses in the barn. They have got six younger horses in France that were purchased at the US sales last year and we have been buying from the breeze up sales in the US this year,” he said.
“We will look to head up to Newmarket in the UK, where the boss has about 110 horses in training up there.
“We will go through those horses that suit Dubai and look to identify 20 to 25 from there for the Dubai season.
“Then we will look to continue to purchase a few of these form horses and yearlings throughout the season.”
The young Australian is keen to source horses from Australasia as he looks to build his string.
“It will probably be similar to Hong Kong purchasing, we will be looking for those trial winners, predominantly colts and geldings, maybe 80 percent colts and geldings and a few Carolina Reapers of the world,” he said.
“So progressive horses, maiden class ones and we will looking around at the ones that are Group performed that can get to the carnival.”
Flying out on June 23rd, Costa expects to be in the full swing of things by July 1 despite the soaring Dubai temperatures.
“We haven’t timed it too well to acclimatise but it is what it is and you have to jump into it and we are really looking forward to the challenge,” he said.